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My Subbody Butoh Experience


My Subbody Butoh Experience




Last Saturday my new dear friend Deva was talking about her experience doing a subbody butoh. It sounded so unique, I decided to try it out.
The class was 3 hours long and we were about 10 people.

In the beginning of the class, I was told to try to be calm, listen to my inner body and move in 4 different simple directions ( forward/backward, left/right circles) . I was laying down and tring to do what the instructor asked me to do but I was not sure what I was suppose to do at all. After a bit of rest we started movement with the head, shoulders and other body parts one by one.




Slowly I felt changes in my body and mind. It felt empty, dark and calm. My instructor told me to stand up. I felt like a baby trying to stand up for the first time. I moved my body but it was very hard. She told us to try to walk like it’s the first time in my life. I didn’t really need to try because actually it was like my first time. When I tried to take my first step, I lifted one leg up and then I did not know whether to put my heell or my toes down first. Keeping my balance was very challenging, yet I didn’t seem to mind and I kept trying. I didn’t have many thoughts in my mind besides figuring out how to walk. I was doing what I was told and that is all I could think of. Really, it was that simple. Soon my body figured out how to put my weight on the other leg and take the other leg off from the floor. Now that I think of it again, I think I walked like a zombie. It really wasn’t easy. I felt my body was too heavy for my legs and it was difficult to keep balance. I kept concentrating, listening to my body and moving my body with her direction.

I was not sure where I was. But I felt as if I was traveling inside my body without my self-consciousness. There was only my subconscious self. It was me, yet I had no body, will or self-awareness. I could be anything: stone, water an animal or plant and so on. I felt like I was in a confined dark space yet I couldn’t say where the end was. My instructors voice was my only direction. Without her voice I would have had no will to exit the emptiness.

My instructor told me to draw a painting in the space. She had us a pair up in two. We became a model for each other and started to draw each other’s shape. I am actually an artist but this is much different. As soon as I was told to draw my subconscious made me that artist. I drew lines through my subconscious eyes. I had no shame or concerns with what I was doing. I just did what I was told. It was just drawing with my whole being in this multi dimensional space. Simple.That is what it was.

The class was coming to end and I was back to my own consciousness. What an experience!




Everyday lots of miracles are happening in the natural world. Birds are traveling across half of the world yet they never lose their way. A Frog’s heart stops during the winter yet he is alive and kicking again in spring. My experience of Butoh was entering my subbody, that was not driven by my body, mind or soul. A blank canvas waiting for a sign to draw on. I am wondering if humans are the only creatures not driven by the creators purpose for their existence?

We are the only creatures that train their souls to be wise. Only humans desire to know the truth. We are the only ones that want to get closer to rightness. Therefore my question is: Why are we so special from all other creatures? Why are we given this phenomenal will to change. What does the creator want us to draw on our canvas?




This Butoh experience reminded me of when I was a little. I was always wondering about the meaning of why I was born and the life I have. Do I need to prove something while I live? Finally why do I have to die? Logically, if there is a start then there must be a end. I am not too convinced that death is the end. It doesn’t seem right. Certainly it was not my intention to be born. Nor will it be my intention to die. But while I live, I can make choices for my life to make changes. I have been given the right to control my life. We could be driven by the creator like any other creatures but we are not. Then why? It seems there must a reason. We must discipline our daily lives and continuously seek the answers.


Thank you for reading,

Soo Kyung Kim